Throughout the lengthy process of the construction of Atlanta United, there has been continuous support from Darren Eales, Carlos Bocanegrea and other officials about the role that the supporters will play at the club. Despite never having an MLS club in the city of Atlanta, there has been great support from the city, with 27,000 season tickets being sold before the club has ever played a competitive match.
In many ways, Atlanta has been a smoldering fire for years with regards to soccer, with the Atlanta Chiefs paving the way as the first professional club in Atlanta, and the Silverbacks presence more recently. But the addition of a top-flight soccer club may trigger the city’s motto of resurgens, as soccer rises to prominence again in the ATL.
Because of the background of some of the higher ups at Atlanta United, specifically Eales, the club clearly recognizes that having a strong, devoted fan base can make a huge difference. And while in many cases, MLS fan culture may still not have come of age, the city of Atlanta has attached itself with its newest franchise, and the feeling of ownership over a fan’s local club is crucial.
This was further solidified when on the 10th of February, it was announced the number 17 would be reserved in tribute to the supporters of the club, and no player would wear it in the inaugural season. Because of this, Atlanta’s newest striker, Josef Martinez had to relinquish the number he has tattooed on his neck, but it conveys to both the players and fans just how important supporting the club will be.
“(Josef Martinez) knows that we’re a club built around our supporters, its just our way of acknowledging the unbelievable support we’ve had from the city,” Darren Eales said.
There is a huge amount of excitement for a new franchise coming to the city, and the people have embraced the club whole-heartedly. Should the club have success in their first season, the appreciation and support will only continue to grow. At every stage the Atlanta United project has passed with flying colors, and long may it continue.